Romania - Mountains, Monasteries and Medieval Cities
One of the small Saxon villages and the base of Fundatia
Adept which is working with farmers to promote traditional methods of
is a small village between Viscri and Sighisoara and we made a brief
stop here on the way back to Sighisoara. It is one of the villages,
along with Biertan and Viscri, included in the World Heritage sites of
fortified churches in Romania.
It is a very attractive village of Saxon houses with yards around a green space. On the hill about a mile south of the village is the remains of a C14th fortification.
The fortified church in the centre of the village was built at the end of the C15th. Only the clock tower survives from the walls which were demolished in the C19th to build a school. The clock tower is very similar to that at Sighisoara and the two towns were long standing rivals to become the most important settlement in the area. It is usually kept locked.
The Tarnava Mare area is characterised by its historic landscape of wild flower rich hay meadows and pastures with woodland of oak and hornbeam. It has some of the highest diversity of flower species recorded anywhere in the world and supports large and stable populations of mammals, birds, butterflies and insects that are now rare over much of Europe. It is also home to some of the remaining wolves and bears in Europe. These fragile landscapes are under threat from modern farming methods. Application of artificial fertilisers would seriously damage or destroy many of the wildflower meadows, allowing coarse or vigorous grasses to invade. Farmers and communities require economic viability and decent living conditions if they are to survive. If not, the land will be left abandoned and revert to scrub and eventually forest.
Fundatia Adept is working with farmers to preserve the landscapes but also to increase their incomes. It is raising understanding in the community as to why their area is important and how its conservation can bring long term benefits to the area. Thee is a future for small farmers. Specialist machinery has been designed to cut hay meadows on the steeper slopes which traditionally had to be cut by hand. Local milk collection points pick up milk from the small farms and take it to community dairies for processing. They have established farmerís markets and community food processing plants. Local produce is marketed under the Tarnava Mare label.
Along with this work, they have set up a network of trails across the area to encourage walkers and cyclists to the area and have increased the accommodation available.
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